Foraging For Fruit With Fruit Shoot

We are well into the summer holidays now and I’m sure that I’m not the only one that is finding it tricky to find activities to keep the little ones entertained without spending a small fortune.

For those of you that are regular readers of my blog will know that I am a huge fan of getting outside and letting the children run wild in the open air.

We have such immense beauty all around us and for me it is hugely important to let children explore this and use their imaginations without the use of technology which can so often get in the way.

One thing I’ve not thought much about doing though is using my time outside to forage as a family, so when Fruit Shoot set me the challenge to do some foraging as a family I was extremely interested in giving it a go!

For those of you that don’t know what foraging is, it is basically searching for wild food.

It’s always something that has interested me but I have also been a little apprehensive as I have always feared my lack of knowledge would lead me to eating something I shouldn’t!

I took note of these top tips from foraging expert Fergus Drennan before heading out which really put my mind at ease:

  • Before setting out in any foraging expedition remember to make sure you know they the fruits you will be looking out for. Never pick and eat anything if you’re not sure what it is – some plants are poisonous and can make you ill.
  • There is no dress code for foraging, you could wrap up in thermals or wear practical things like waterproofs and wellies. Don’t let wing and rain put you off, it’s all part of the elemental experience! Foraging can get a little messy, so it’s probably not a great idea to wear your best shoes.
  • Avoid collie ting all the fruit you can see as other creature rely on them for food too. Blackbirds and pigeons absolutely adore ripe mahonia berries and young foxes will eat fruit such as cherry plums!
  • Collect seeds and plant them to help you identify plants. You could even create a dedicated wild food plant area in your garden or pots of the garden is small.
  • It is also worth checking which plants are rare, threatened or protected by law (even if they are edible) in The Wildlife and Countryside Act. The Woodland Trust also has great tips and advice for foraging. 

Armed with our pocket book which would hopefully give us some tips we headed off in search of some free food.


We searched high and low and found some mushrooms which I still wasn’t brave enough to pick and some beautifully juicy blackberries that the boys were more than happy to gather.

All this foraging was thirsty work so we sat back and grabbed a Fruit Shoot whist chatting about what fruit combinations would be their favourite if they could pick some flavours for themselves out of fruit they could find.

Frankie decided on watermelon and strawberries, although I’m not sure we are going to be able to find any watermelon locally to us though!

All of this fruit picking got me thinking about what we could do with our stash and I think there is going to be some jam making coming in the next few weeks so keep an eye out!

*collaborated post

After School Treats With Sunny Fruit Mix-Ups From Whitworths


With the school term back in full swing I have lots of hungry mouths to feed come three thirty and I’m always on the lookout for something quick and easy to stave off the hunger pangs until dinner time.

It’s all to easy to reach for the biscuit tin which ultimately leads to hyperactive children charging around the house which is never something you need after a long day.

When I was sent a selection of Sunny Fruit Mix-Ups from Whitworths I was eagar to give them a try.

The bright packaging and the fruity, named characters really caught their eye and it wasn’t long before they were tucking in.


The portion sizes were perfect to fill a tinny tummy, pack into their lunch boxes or have as a standby snack in your handbag which I always need as a form of bribery!

With no added sugar and portions of real fruit they really do make for a guilt free snack for children and adults alike.


I have a range of picky eaters to ones that eat anything and the whole range was a hit with them all, from the juicy apricots and mango, the chewy pineapple and raisins and the flavoursome strawberries and sultanas.


With the different varies these mix-ups have to offer I’m sure you will find a flavour that suits everyone.

Give them a try and let me know what you think.

*we were given a selection of mix-ups to sample for the purpose of this review. They are all my own, honest opinions.

Image Of The Week:Breakfast

  

In our house breakfast is always a rushed event with several different sittings as we all leave the house at such different times.  It usually consists of the usual cereal, fruit and toast as on the rare occasion we are all together we love to all sit down to some yummy waffles with fruit and maple syrup. 

We had our first real taste of waffles a few years ago in Florida and couldn’t resist purchasing a Mickey Mouse waffle iron on our return so we could recreate our holiday breakfast every now and then.
  

Allergy Free Apple, Blackberry And Rhubarb Crumble

  
I love nothing more than saving a few pennies on the food shop so today we headed into town to pick up some bargains from the butchers and the greengrocer.  On the way back we stopped and picked a few handfuls of blackberries that are still around.

During the summer I very rarely make any puddings so as the weather is now on the turn I thought tonight would be great to have a yummy crumble. 

This recipe is great if you suffer with food allergies but can easily be converted to your usual ingredients.

Allergy Free Apple, Blackberry And Rhubarb Crumble

  • 120 wheat free flour
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 60g dairy free spread
  • 150g cooking apples
  • 30g demerara sugar
  • 30g dairy free spread
  • 100g blackberries
  • 150grhubarb
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan or Gas Mark 5.  
  2. Add 60g dairy free spread, sugar and flour to a bowl a drub together making a breadcrumb like mixture.
  3. Next put the 30g of dairy free spread and demerara sugar onto a saucepan and melt together for a few minutes.  Stir in the rhubarb and apple along with the cinnamon and cook for a few minutes.  Add the blackberries and cook for another couple of minutes.  Remove from the heat and place into a deep gratin dish.
  4. Lastly poor the crumble mixture over the top and place in the oven for around twenty minutes.

  
Sadly we forgot the custard so had it served by itself. I think we might have to get some for the leftovers tomorrow!

What is your favourite fruit to add to a crumble?

 

   

Fruit Picking With A Tipsy Afternoon Tea

 

Our family all love fruit and we especially love our annual fruit picking trip.

Today was perfect weather for it so we set off to Flowers Farm in Godstone to start our day.

I only had the two little ones today so it was easier to keep an eye on the amount of fruit that was going into the mouths rather than the baskets!

   
       

Number four was quite reserved and only snuck a few, number five on the other hand didn’t get the concept at all and had to have his basket removed!

We got a fabulous crop of strawberries, raspberries and cherries and had a fantastic time running around the fields trying to find the best fruit.

   
       

 

Once we were all done we had a short drive up the road to the newly opened Oldpost.

I had been a while ago and had a beautiful Valentines afternoon tea here and wanted to take my parents and Sister as I knew it would be right up their street.

They were not disappointed as we walked into the beautiful, serene courtyard and picked a table by a tranquil water feature.

   

   

To my Sister’s delight they had a Wimbeldon themed menu which consisted of a scrumptious scone with cream and jam and a glass of processo or Pimms.

   
 

The staff were extremely welcoming and even though the setting was wonderful they were more than happy to accommodate my two over active little ones!

My Sister made a new best friend when she received a complementary top up on her prosecco.

  

Tummies full and slightly tipsy we had a walk around to see what else Oldpost had to offer.  There is a wonderfully stocked gift shop perfect for something a little different, a light and airy studio which offers a wide range of exercise classes and also classes for little ones; plus a beauty room offering a good array of very reasonable priced treatments.

   
       

With my birthday coming up next month my sister and I have a girly day there planned with another few glasses of prosecco to celebrate!

     

  

  
  

Chocolate Bowl Recipe Fail

  
As many of you know number four has multiple allergies and because of this I always try to find different things to make for him to make up for all the yummy things he misses out on.

Ice cream is always a no no when we are out and he only has the option of ice lollies.

This summer I have made it my mission to create some different ice cream recipes for him.

Ice cream cones always contain wheat, so as he is a chocolate lover I thought I could make a chocolate bowl covered with sprinkles to put his favourite mango sorbet in.

   
 

I greased a small bowl and spread melted chocolate over the inside and covered in sprinkles.  Whilst the kids were licking out the bowl I put it into the fridge to set.

   
   

I removed the bowl from the fridge with every hope that I was going to be able to easily remove the chocolate shell from the bowl.

How wrong could I be!  It was welded in with no hope of moving!  I still served the sorbet and fruit and number four was occupied for ages trying to gouge the chocolate out of the bowl.  

So my image of this delicate chocolate bowl covered with sprinkles was shattered; but the fact it took so long to remove the chocolate gave me a bit of peace and quiet to tidy up!!

Celebrating National Picnic Week

As I’m sure many of you will know I am a massive fan of picnics.  It means you can get out in the fresh air, take in your surrounding and enjoy some time together with good food.  Our favourite place to picnic is Priory Park in Reigate, Surrey.  It is a beautiful park with lovely surroundings and lots to do.

Towards the end of last summer I had lost my mojo a bit and our picnics became very samey, and consisted of the usual sweaty sandwich, packet of crisps and a boring cereal bar.

I have made it my mission this year to create fun, interesting and memorable picnics that we will all enjoy and hopefully remember in years to come.

My first picnic of the year was made for a festival a few weeks ago which went down a treat with everyone.

To celebrate the start of national picnic week this week I put my thinking cap on and can up with some ideas hopefully you will be inspired to give a try.

The first couple of ideas were made up simply because I picked up the wrong tumblers whist shopping in Tesco.  Once I had opened them I realised they were infact a normal plastic tumbler with a raised section inside to pour a shot!!


These infact came in really handy as I made some vegetable crudités and added some salsa to one and sour cream dip to the other.


Next up for the fab tumblers was a mozzarella, avocado and tomato salad.  I sliced each of the ingredients up and placed around the edge of the tumbler and the added some balsamic vinegar and olive oil to the little well in the centre.


Simple sandwiches for my little allergy buddy were made with his wheat free bread and filled with ham and salad.  I then I  took a toast press that I had bought for Valentine’s Day to create an “I Love You” message on the top to make it a little more interesting.

I came across some mini bagels in Tesco that I filled with hummous and spring onion and cheddar and onion apple chutney.


My sister was coming with us and she is a massive fan of hallumi.  I sliced it into bite size chunks and wrapped each piece in a slice of streaky bacon.  I placed them on a greased baking tray and cooked them for about 10mins on 200C fan/180C or Gas Mark 6.


My boys adore olives and a few years ago I made an olive spider for Halloween.  They are just a black plum that you attach eight cocktail sticks to to made the legs and them thread on black olives.  For the eyes I just used a couple of sugar beads that you decorate cakes with and stuck them on with a little bit of icing.


The last of the savoury snacks was a mini corn in the cob. These were just cooked in boiling water for 10mins then once they were ready I placed a wooden skewer into the bottom of each of them and placed theminto individual  sandwich bags with a knob of butter and secured the end.  Just little you get in fried chicken shops!

Next up I got the tumblers out again to create a multicoloured jelly.  I picked three different coloured jellies that I mixed according to the instructions  and poured the first colour into the small well.  I placed them in the fridge to set which took about 10mins.  Then I filled the tumbler half way with the next colour and put them back into the fridge to set again for another 10mins.  I then added the final colour and placed into the fridge until we were ready to use them.  These are best done the night before.


We all love marshmallows in our house so I made some super easy skewers by alternating strawberries, marshmallows and grapes.  These would have been lovely with a chocolate dip!


Our last little treat were melon lollipops.  You can use any melon and cut it into any shape you like.  I used a gala melon and cut it into slices which I then halved.  I put a small hole into the bottom of a cake case and then inserted a lolly sick into the bottom of the melon then slip on the cake cases. These looked great but didn’t travel that well.


There was minimal cooking in all of these ideas and they were loved by everyone.  Even if you added on or two of these ideas I’m sure it would really cheer up any picnic.


        
Try and dedicate a little time this week to get out with your family and celebrate national picnic week.